Untangling the Five-year-old Mind

by Joy K

Author's Note: A Little Britches "short" inspired by a joke

Mrs. Roquette was patiently trying to help her student, five-year-old JD Dunne put on his boots. The weather was wet, snowy and cold and the boots were a necessity.

JD's foster brother, Vin, had already donned his boot and coat and lined up with the other children at the door to wait to go to the pickup area. Frustrated, the younger boy had asked for Mrs. R for help as he prepared to go home and now she could see why.

With her pulling and young Dunne pushing, the small black boots still didn't want to go on. She tugged and jerked and yanked and finally JD's pudgy foot was secure.

Struggling through the same process with the second boot, Carolyn had worked up a sweat. With a sigh, she pronounced him ready to go, letting his booted foot fall to the floor.

JD looked down at his feet and then back to his teacher. She was supposed to know everything, wasn't she? The dark haired child tapped his toes on the floor while he debated whether he should say something.

"What's wrong, JD?" Mrs. Roquette asked gently, seeing that something was troubling the youngster.

"Mrs. R," said JD hesitantly, "they's on the wrong feet."

Carolyn almost whimpered when she looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She struggled and tugged while JD held on to the seat of his chair with all of his might. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on -- this time on the right feet.

JD smiled happily and announced, "These aren't my boots."

Carolyn bit her tongue rather than get right in the kindergartner's face and scream, "Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to. He was just a child, after all, and it wasn't his fault that so many things had gone wrong today.

Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off. When she removed the boots, she looked around the coatroom to see where JD's boots were hidden. No extra boots remained.

"These aren't your boots?" the teacher confirmed.

"Nope," said JD. "These are Vin's boots. Da made me wear them because mine had a hole."

Mrs. Roquette didn't know if she should laugh or cry. She knew how literal children were, especially JD, but it had been a long day. Carolyn mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.

She said, "Now, JD, where are your mittens?"

JD looked up at his teacher with big hazel eyes and a proud smile.

"I stuffed them in the toes of my boots so I wouldn't lose them."

JD was concerned as Mrs. R quietly thunked her head against the wall. He jumped up from the chair and limped to the doorway in the too tight, mitten-stuffed boots.

"Mr. B, I think you'd better come," JD bellowed. "Mrs. R is given herself a heads-ache."

The End